[SydPhil] Brad Weslake Monday

Kristie Miller kristie_miller at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 19 18:31:15 AEST 2012

Dear all,

This Monday (23 July) Brad Weslake will present the current projects seminar from 1.00-2.30 in the philosophy common room.

"Difference-Making, Closure and Exclusion"

Consider the following causal exclusion principle: For all distinct properties F and F* such that F* supervenes on F, F and F* do not both cause a property G. Peter Menzies and Christian List have proven that it follows from a natural conception of causation as difference-making that this exclusion principle is not generally true. Rather, it turns out that whether the principle is true is a contingent matter. In addition, they have shown that in a wide range of empirically ordinary cases, it follows that F* causes G and F does not. These cases plausibly include instances where F* is a mental property and F and G are physical properties. If this is the right conception of causation, it therefore turns out that the physical world is not causally closed. In this paper I show that there is an alternative conception of causation as difference-making that does not have the same consequences. Whether the physical world is causally closed therefore turns out to depend, inter alia, on which conception of difference-making is correct. I conclude by suggesting some reasons to prefer the alternative conception.

See you all there.

Dr. Kristie Miller
University of Sydney 
Senior Research Fellow
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry and
The Centre for Time
The University of Sydney
Sydney Australia
Room 407, A 14

kmiller at usyd.edu.au
kristie_miller at yahoo.com
Ph: +612 9036 9663

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